Finding tree frogs may not be as easy as just looking up in the trees. Depending on the type of frog that you’re looking for, they may be more or less easy to spot. I felt like it took forever to spot my first tree frog as a child! I am now very experienced at finding tree frogs and would love to share my knowledge with you in this article.
You can find tree frogs by looking in trees, at the base of trees, on in leaves, and under leaf litter near a permanent source of freshwater. The best time to look for tree frogs is in the evening and at night during mating season.
I like looking for Spring Peeper, Gray Tree Frogs, and Chorus Frogs in my area. Here are my tried and tested tips on how to find tree frogs in the wild based on years of experience searching, finding, and observing them.
1. Look For Tree Frogs Near a Source of Water
The best place to find tree frogs is near a permanent source of very slow-moving freshwater with no fish, like a pond, marsh, or bog that is surrounded by trees. Although tree frogs do not live in water like aquatic frogs, they require a permanent body of water and trees to be able to survive.
It will probably be harder or rarer to find tree frogs near a fast-moving source of water like a river. Like many other frog species, tree frogs prefer slow-moving, practically stagnant water to reproduce so that their eggs and tadpoles do not wash away. Tree frogs generally prefer water with no fish.
Some of the best places to look for tree frogs include:
- Small ponds surrounded by trees
- Marshes with trees or tall vegetation
- Bogs and swamps with trees
2. Look For A Shiny Bump in Trees
Generally, the easiest way to find a tree frog is to scan from the tree trunk to the tip of a branch looking for a shiny bump. Tree frogs camouflage extremely well and may be the same color as the branch or hidden among leaves, however, their wet and shiny skin can give them away.
Generally, the way I find tree frogs is by looking for a shiny lumps among the trees. Although tree frogs can camouflage extremely well, they cannot hide the fact that their skin is wet. Frogs need to stay moist and hydrated in order to survive, and they breathe and drink through their skin.
Therefore, one of the best times to go looking for tree frogs using the method of looking for a wet shiny anomaly in the trees is when it is dry outside. If it just rained and everything is wet outside, they are generally harder to spot.
3. Look For Tree Frogs at The Base of Trees
Some frogs do not climb up high into trees and can be found at the base near leaf litter. For example, Spring Peeper can generally be found calling at the base of trees, only 10 to 20 centimeters (4 to 8 inches) high during mating season.
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In the video below, I show how to find Spring Peeper and you can see me spot them at the base of trees during mating season. Although they can be very loud, it can be tough to find these tiny frogs. You may find yourself standing right next to one and not even see it. Looking for something wet and shiny can be very helpful.
4. Look For Tree Frogs on Leaves
Some tree frogs like to spend their time camouflaged and stuck to leaves. This is especially true for very small and light tree frogs like Glass Frogs and Red-Eyed Tree Frogs.
Some frogs like to hang out on branches like Grey Tree frogs. Others prefer the humidity and comfort of the leaves. It can sometimes be rare to find tree frogs hanging out on leaves in North America depending on what you are looking for. However, sticking to leaves is very common for a number of tree frogs that can be found in South America.
Check out our list of frogs you can find in the Rainforest here.
5. Look For Tree Frogs Under Leaf Litter
Many tree frogs spend part of the day hiding under leaf litter which generally consists of dead leaves and debris at the base of trees. Some tree frogs may find refuge during the day below leaf litter in order to stay cool, hydrated, and hide from predators.
Honestly I do not recommend this technique in general. Lifting up leaves to look for tree frogs under leaf litter can hurt them and disturb their habitat. A much better approach is to look for tree frogs in or at the base of trees, out in the open.
Resort to the next few tips in order to better respect the frogs in their natural environment if you are still having a hard time finding them.
6. Listen And Look For Tree Frogs Chirping
Male tree frogs chirp during mating season in order to attract female frogs by filling up their vocal sacks with air and emitting sounds while exhaling. Generally, looking and listening for tree frog calls can help pinpoint their location.
Start by listening for male tree frogs. Slowly approach the sound that you can hear and be careful not to inadvertently step on any frogs that may be at ground level. Once you’ve gotten close to the sound that you can hear, try looking for the frog.
My favorite tip to find tree frogs while they are chirping is to look for what looks like a bubble gum balloon growing bigger and smaller. When male tree frogs chirp they inhale air into their vocal sacs filling them up and making them look like balloons. This can help give away their location.
7. Look For Tree Frogs at Night
Looking for tree frogs at night can generally make it easier to find certain species since right after sunset is commonly when they start calling during mating season. Approaching loud tree frogs can make it easier to pinpoint their location.
My favorite time to go looking for certain kinds of tree frogs is in the late evening right after sunset, and at night. For example, I find that Spring Peeper are generally easier to spot at night. I usually find Spring Peeper by pinpointing their location based on two main factors: sound and sight.
Be sure to bring a flashlight with you if you’re looking for frogs at night, and try not to scare them by flashing the lights directly at them. Some frogs may play dead if they are afraid, others may not mind your presence and will continue calling.
Learn more about different frog personalities in this article on our blog.
8. Look For Tree Frogs During Mating Season
One of the easiest times to find tree frogs in the wild is during mating season which is generally from March to June in North America. Some frog species can be heard over 1 km from their location making them easier to find.
Frogs are generally louder and easier to spot before they reproduce while males call for females. Depending on where you are located in the world, the mating season can be all year round (like in parts of South America) or take place only during the Spring (Canada).
Generally, tree frogs reproduce from March to June in Canada and the Northern parts of the United States, and from November to February in more Southern parts of the United States. This can be a great time to go looking for tree frogs because they are louder and easier to locate.
More Tips For Finding Frogs
It can be very fun to find tree frogs in the wild, but you may also enjoy looking for toads and aquatic frogs. Toads can generally be found on land, and aquatic frogs may be found in the ponds where you are looking for tree frogs.
Here are more tips on her blog about how to find frogs in the wild:
- 32 Easy Way to Find All Types of Frogs
- 10 Tips to Find Aquatic Frogs in The Wild
- 14 Places to Find Toads in Your Yard
- 4 Easy Ways to Find Toads in The Wild
- 8 Tips to Find Tree Frogs
- Where Can You Find Frogs in the USA?
- Attract Frogs to Your Yard
- How to Keep a Wild Pet Frog or Toad
- Create a Frog Friendly Pond to Attract Them
- Create a Toad House to Make Them Feel More Welcome
Common Questions About Finding Tree Frogs
Where do tree frogs hide during the day? Tree frogs can generally be found hiding under leaf litter, on branches or on leaves during the day. Tree frogs require a permanent source of freshwater and trees to survive and can generally be found in trees near ponds, bogs or marshes.
How do you attract a tree frog? You can attract tree frogs by creating the perfect environment for them which needs to include a permanent body of freshwater with no fish, surrounded by trees, very little predators and a steady source of food (bugs).
Where do tree frogs live in the United States? You can find tree frogs all over the United States near marshes, ponds, bogs, swamps and other permanent bodies of freshwater surrounded by trees. Tree Frogs avoid bodies of water with fish or fast paced currents.
How do I identify tree frogs? You can identify a tree frog by considering its location and by looking at its feet. Tree frogs are generally found near or in trees close to a permanent freshwater source, and they have tiny suction cups on the bottom of their feet.
This article is written from many years of personal experience, enjoy 🙂